Khun Chavoret Jaruboon-The Last Executioner in Thailand


Finished another great book about Thailand. This one is not about the beautiful scenery or delicious cuisine, but rather looks at the penal system and death penalty in Thailand. This book was written by Chavoret Jaruboon, who served as the last executioner in Bangkok before Thailand ceased the use of firing squads and switched to lethal injection in the early 21st century.

Mr. Jaruboon began as a rock musician entertaining the US troops on R&R during the Vietnam War. When he got married and started a family, he needed a job with more stability and became a prison guard. Due to his excellent work performance, he was eventually promoted into the rather elite team that carried out executions.

Despite the rather gruesome nature of his work, he writes of his position within the justice system and repeatedly (and somewhat defensively) validates his participation in numerous executions.

His initial position as escort he describes as being more shocking and depressing than expected. His role was to escort the condemned inmate from his/her cell to the execution room. He wrote of the looks of horror and resigned terror in people’s eyes as he marched them to their deaths.

He was later promoted to the role of executioner, as in the man who actually pulls the trigger on the automatic submachine guns used. (Thailand switched to the H&K MP5 at some point in the late 20th century.)

The author also spends pages describing how he tried to be fair and just with the inmates and treat them with some respect. This stands in sharp contrast to other accounts of Thai prisons, often described as hellish dungeons. No firsthand experience myself, so I will have to balance the contrasting accounts.

Just read that a film was made of his life. Should be worth a view.

If you to want read it for yourself, you can get a copy on Amazon.

By the way, I found out about this book a few days after I visited the Corrections Museum in Bangkok. I promise to write a post on that fascinating but ghoulish museum very soon.

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